France Telecom (FT) Orange has unveiled details of its low-cost "Sosh" offering with the aim of attracting younger customers more interested in mobile data access.
The new branded no-contract service, which is looking to recruit 500,000 new customers by the end of next year, is being seen as FT preparing to fight with Iliad's Free Mobile when it launches its cut-price tariff next year.
Speaking at the launch, France Telecom CEO Stephane Richard said that Sosh will only be available online and is the starting point for low-cost mobile service without a commitment from the customer. "The French have one major concern: the control of consumer spending," Richard said, according to Le Figaro.
Delphine Ernotte, executive director of FT Orange's domestic business, told Reuters that Sosh is targeted at the 18-35 age group. Despite it being cut-price, Ernotte claimed that Sosh would have similar levels of profitability to FT's existing smartphone offers.
Sosh tariffs being offered by FT range from 120 minutes of talk time and 500MB of data for €19.90, to unlimited voice and 1GB of data for €39.90. All bundles include unlimited SMS and MMS subject to fair use, together with access to Orange's 30,000 Wi-Fi hotspots and no restriction on the use of VoIP services.
However, these prices do not include a handset, although Sosh users will be offered a choice of five devices together with the old iPhone 3G in return for paying between €5 and €15 per month for 12 to 24 months. There will also be an upfront lump sum payment at the start of a handset contract.
The new offering comes amid a price war in France that is squeezing Vivendi's SFR and Bouygues Telecom. The pricing battles come ahead of the launch of Iliad's Free Mobile service, which is expected to undercut the incumbents.
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